Grant #242

Ecuadorian Artisans

May 1, 2017

A jewelry co-op with a cultural kick from the Shuar and Saraguro communities of Ecuador.

Within the vast Amazonian basin is the southern Ecuadorian province of Zamora-Chinchipe where you’ll find a dizzying array of flora and fauna and steep forested slopes. The biological beauty feels endless, and the culture is rich and deep. Indigenous communities like the Shuar and Saraguro have inhabited the area for hundreds of years, mastering many things including handcrafted beaded jewelry.

Many of the female artisans travel 5-10 hours by bus to reach “local” markets to sell their craft, but awareness of their high skilled handwork remains limited. Our latest grantee is going to team up with these crafty ladies to help change that by building on the communities’ ancestral traditions of cooperative organizing and establishing a jewelry co-op. Initially, efforts will focus on training the artisans to expand their business prowess and help them establish an internet presence that increases awareness and educates the world about the cultural and ecological values of the Shuar and Saraguro people. Of course, down the road, the cherry on top of this beaded jewelry sundae is the economic opportunities for the artisans and their families.

Awesome Without Borders is going to help with the initial expenses to develop training materials and establish a digital presence. Stay tuned for more!



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